Below is my humble attempt from my notes on Tazkiyah tun Nafs ( Fellowship) to summarize the qualities of the four kinds of hearts described in the Quran and Hadith and the ideal goal of a Seeker of Truth. All mistakes are mine and may Allah forgive me.
INTRODUCTION: The human heart is the container that receives and is nourished by forces that are external. These forces acting on the heart could be worldly and or Divine.
Though the heart is not a passive container, however in many ways it is a non-objecting recipient of wanted and unwanted contents. some of which nourish it and some that infect it, Some that bring in the Light of the Divine and some that plunge it into the darkness of ignorance and resulting uncouthness.
It is the human being who has to watch out for optimal nourishment of the heart and the health of the heart. in the final analysis it is the condition in which our heart will be presented to Allah Subhanawataala on Judgement Day that will determine our outcome for “abada” or for all times to come.
Thus, the protection and nourishment of the heart such that it becomes a “sound” heart as is mentioned in the Quran becomes an imperative priority and individual responsibility and no blame for error can be placed on another.
If the ultimate goal is to have a sound heart at the end of time, one has to prepare for it to be so. Just as one prepares for a marathon one has to first learn about one’s own heart and the forces that act upon it with the potential of transforming it into something desirable or undesirable in our book of deeds.
Thus, on this voyage to nourish and protect the heart so that it becomes and remains sound through the hills and valley s of experiences in life one has to undergo the following steps:
1. Recognize the characteristics of the four types of hearts
2. Understand what transforms the heart to fall into these four categories
3. Realize the consequences of the hearts that are not sound nor have the potential of becoming “sound”
4. Learn and practice the methodology to transform one’s heart to that which is beloved to Allah Subhanwataala i.e. the Sound heart.
Allah Subhanawataala did us human beings a great favor by sending Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to explain the states of the heart to us and how to attain a sound heart which ensures our entry into our original home of in the Gardens of Jannah.
As one of the Sufi sage’s once said: You can either cleanse your heart and make it sound in this world by undergoing what may seem difficult for a transitory period OR you can be dipped in the Fire of Hell and be purified in that manner. It seems that the intelligent human being would choose the former method rather than the later which would be much more painful.
Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him in his recorded Hadith informed us of four kinds of hearts.
Allah gave us a bevy of resources in the form of parents, teachers, fellow students, written books disseminated over the internet and exposure to natural environments for reflection to either nourish our heart or let it stagnate into disease. He Subhanawataala also gave us a choice by informing us via His words and the actions of His Nabi Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him as to what is the outcome of the heart with the actions we choose, while remembering that a non-action is also an action.
According to the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad pbuh there are four kinds of hearts:
- Qalb un ijrad:
- Qalb e Aghlaf
- Qalb e Mankoos
- Qalb e Musfah
The HADITH IS AS FOLLOWS:
Abu Sa’id reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are four kinds of hearts: a polished heart as shiny as a radiant lamp, a sealed heart with a knot tied around it, a heart that is turned upside down, and a heart that is wrapped. As for the polished heart, it is the heart of the believer and its lamp is the light of faith. The sealed heart is the heart of the unbeliever. The heart that is turned upside down is the heart of a pure hypocrite, for he had knowledge but he denied it. As for the heart that is wrapped, it is the heart that contains both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of faith in this heart is the parable of the herb that is sustained by pure water, and the parable of the hypocrisy in it is the parable of an ulcer that thrives upon puss and blood; whichever of the two is greater will dominate.”
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 10745
Grade: Jayyid (very good) according to Al-Suyuti
- QALB AJRAD: Qalb un ajrat: liberated, emptied free of all other than what is for Allah and by Allah, cleansed. and it is ready to receive the love and Light of Allah bringing His mercy and fillin git with joy.
Qalb sirajin: There is Noor inside, which allows the heart to see, though it is not a physical light but a spiritual light. It helps the heart understand realities as they are, notions, and the subtle meanings for the heart to understand.
Such is the heart of the Momin
2. QALB E AGHLAF: It is a heart that does not allow anything to enter it other than what is inside it already. ( Kaffara is to cover< Kaafir is one who covers the truth)
Goal: to keep away from developing qualities that will keep me away from the Noor of Allah i.e. close heartedness.
3. QALB E MANFOOS: IT IS THE Qalb of the Munafiq, It is worse than the heart of the Kaafir, as the Munafiq will be in the seventh depth of fire. A Munafiq is someone who says he believes with his tongue but in their heart he does not. It is a Qalb but it is upside down. Such a person whose heart is upside down he knew and had knowledge (arafah) and yet he denies and rejects it. He is worse than the Kaafir. The Kaafir does not have the knowledge but the Munafiq has knowledge and rejects it and does that inside his heart and externally shows compliance.
He witnessed the truth and turned a blind eye and preferred blindness. E.g. he sees the ayat of Allah from Prophet Muhammad pbuh but turns a blind eye but keeps the rejection hidden within him and externally behaves as if he is compliant to Allah.
4. Qalb e musfah: A heart that is fed by two sources: emaan, the truth, moral beauty, and also Nifaq, ( hypocrisy). On one hand the actions of a Momin feed the heart, and actions affect the internal reality. Another source feeding the heart is that of Nifaq, ie lying, being rude and transgressive in disagreements and one who breaks promises and does not fulfill them. The nature of this heart becomes that of the influence that is predominant.
This heart is always at a cusp and vacillates between the heart of a momin and a hypocrite.
- OBEDIENCE TO ALLAH
- SINCERE DUA TO ALLAH: Dua: As we strive to do the right things externally according to what is available and the himma inside us and in addition to we implore Allah:
Ya Muqallibul Quloob, sabith Qalbi
O you who is powerful over the changes of heart please grant my heart steadfastness until my last breath. Despite the ups and downs and the shenanigans of my Nafs.
DUA: O you who orients hearts orient it away from disobedience and towards obedience of You: Allah.
- BUILDING THE FOUNDATION OF THE HEARTS THAT STAND FIRMLY TO LIVE TO JOURNEY TO ALLAH
The challenges are meant to strengthen the heart to continue on the path to Allah.
The condition of the true seeker is always Khair in all conditions.
- FACING THE FITAN OR TRIBULATIONS WITH STRENGTH AND ISTIQAMAH
Hudhayfah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tribulation will be exposed to the hearts of people like a reed mat woven, stick by stick. Any heart afflicted by them will have a black mark put into it, but any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put into it. Thus, there will be two kinds of hearts: one is pure like a white gemstone; it will not be harmed by any trial as long as the heavens and earth endure. The other is black and dusty like a worn-out vessel, neither acknowledging good nor rejecting evil, rather absorbed in its desires.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 144
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim
عَنْ حُذَيْفَةَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ تُعْرَضُ الْفِتَنُ عَلَى الْقُلُوبِ كَالْحَصِيرِ عُودًا عُودًا فَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أُشْرِبَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ وَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أَنْكَرَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ بَيْضَاءُ حَتَّى تَصِيرَ عَلَى قَلْبَيْنِ عَلَى أَبْيَضَ مِثْلِ الصَّفَا فَلَا تَضُرُّهُ فِتْنَةٌ مَا دَامَتْ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَالْآخَرُ أَسْوَدُ مُرْبَادًّا كَالْكُوزِ مُجَخِّيًا لَا يَعْرِفُ مَعْرُوفًا وَلَا يُنْكِرُ مُنْكَرًا إِلَّا مَا أُشْرِبَ مِنْ هَوَاهُ
In the challenges is also the evolution of the heart due to the grace of calamities.
Exposure to jalali attributes of Allah ……
Fitna is manifestation of Jalal and if we deal with the proper adab (Etiquette) deserving of Jalal then the result will always be generosity.
If I don’t then there will be more jalal but we won’t see it as jalal……
The Seeker who wants to be on the path and know Allah: Allah by his names and attributes is aware that He is both Jalal and Jamal. Allah exposes me to His attributes through his Jamali attributes but then come the Jalali attributes.
I know Him through His personal relationship in my life, I know Him not only intellectually but I live the experiences manifesting His karam to me which becomes knowing Him more deeply. His attributes are also Jalali: Adl, the Avenger, AL Aziz, al Kahaar, AL Jabaar the Subduer and the rectifier.
إِذْ جَآءَ رَبَّهُۥ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
When he came to his Lord with a sound heart
يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ تَفَرَّغْ لِعِبَادَتِي أَمْلأْ صَدْرَكَ غِنًى وَأَسُدَّ فَقْرَكَ وَإِلاَّ تَفْعَلْ مَلأْتُ يَدَيْكَ شُغْلاً وَلَمْ أَسُدَّ فَقْرَكَ
Hadith Qudsi: O son of Adam, empty your heart for my worship, I will fill your chest with wealth (i.e. the treasures and attributes of Allah). And if you don’t [struggle/strive to remove all of the negative qualities within], I will fill your hands with worry and will not seal the holes of your poverty (i.e. the floods of feeling needy)
O child of Adam, Empty yourself for my ebadah, ( i.e. empty your heart from everything( attachments, drives, longings, ) for my ebadah)
In sorting out between the different Hearts (Quloobs) and avoiding being any other than the first ajrad one is thrown into the dilemma when faced with calamities both personal and general. When these challenges are thrown at us are these the Jalali manifestations to test our mettle or are they the work of Shaytan and Nafs or are they my own weaknesses that need shoring up. Thus, a three-pronged plan needs to be in place:
- To Increase the presence of Allah within me by Dhikr in my daily life
- To avoid Shaytaan and the power of the Nafs by avoiding places where they play
- To accept with equanimity what Allah throws my way in face of His Jalal and wait patiently for his Jamal to manifest for it surely will. Inshallah. Ameen
Acknowledgements with Gratitude : Al Madina Institute for accepting me into their Suhbha Fellowship program, Sheikh Mokhtaar Magraoui for his infinite patient with me as a slow implementer of what I learn and my fellow sisters who searched and shared the accurate Hadith and Quran Quotes. May Allah bless you all! Thank you!